My 3 kids and I were booked on the 6 day Carnival Splendor on January 13, 2013 out of Long Beach California. We were so excited to leave for this vacation. I booked us a room in Las Vegas for Saturday night and then we would drive to Long Beach on Sunday morning to embark for our cruise. I bought the zip line tour in Puerto Vallarta for the kids for their Christmas present and we were looking forward to all of it.
Friday night Jan 10, 2013 my cell phone rings as I am leaving work. It was Carnival letting me know that our 6 day cruise would now be a 5 day cruise and would not leave until Monday Jan 14th due to unforseen problems. Now I understand that things happen and need to be fixed. Yes I was sad to have our cruise shortened by 1 day and that they nixed the Puerto Vallarta port thus deleting our one and only shore excursion and my kids Christmas present. I told my kids the disappointing news but we decided to make the best of it and stayed an extra day in Vegas. I was able to secure a good rate at the Flamingo Hilton for Sunday night as well and we packed and left on Saturday morning heading to Vegas.
Vegas was fine and on Monday morning we packed up and took off in the car toward Long Beach. After a few direction hiccups we arrived. Gave the bags to the porters, parked the car, got in line. Soon the line started moving. It was just like all of the other cruises we have been on and excitement was building. We got through the security check and here is where it just went to crap. I have never been so disappointed in Carnival as I was today. Once we got through security they escorted us into the huge "dome" where it was controlled chaos. They separated us into lines of about 50-60 people. The dome was freezing cold (as was Long Beach and even Vegas)and we stood in that dome for hours before finally getting our sign and sail cards and onto the ship. We were informed that they were serving lunch until 4:30 and we boarded at 4:15. We dropped our carry ons in our room, met our room steward and started off to the lido deck for something to eat. The buffet line....complete joke. I stopped at the bar to get the kids their soda cards and then went down to the cabin to get another jacket as it was freezing. Just as I got to our room the announcement came on that they were starting the muster drill. Oh great...no food and now the muster drill. I had a drink in my hand and one of the stewards on our floor told me I could NOT take it with me. I went and put it back in my cabin and the kids and I headed to the muster station where there were people standing there with plates of pizza, ice cream, drinks but I was told to leave mine in my cabin. Not really happy with that either but oh well it was almost over. Honestly this was the worst first day of any cruise I've ever had and Carnival had the attitude that they just did NOT care we were upset. They should have comped us for that day as well considering we got on the ship just before the muster drill and were unable to enjoy any part of the ship even though we arrived well before boarding was started. They were short staffed and had 30 people trying to check in a sold out cruise ship at the Long Beach port and an additional 30 people trying to check in another cruise at another California port. It was really disappointing to say the least. Yes they gave a $50.00 per person credit and credited the lost port but it was all handled so poorly.
Once we set sail we did have a great time on the ship and the staff were really great. The food was not as good as other cruises and the breakfast buffet was just sad. Lunch was pretty good however and we did have a couple of good dinners but as the week went on I felt the quality of the food went down. The last night the food choices for me were really tired and really didn't taste well. We ended up ordering from room service and filling up on desserts.
As for the excursions....I was told by a Carnival employee that my card had been credited for the Puerto Vallarta excursion that we would miss due to the shortened cruise but as of yet that has not happened. We were able to book the last 4 tickets for the Zip Line tour in Cabo but it was more expensive which I was unhappy about as well. The tour however was amazing!!! WE LOVED it!!! The guides were awesome with me and my kids. They were attentive, funny and safety oriented. We had a blast!!! I would recommend them 100000 times over!!! Cabo Adventures is just amazing!!! I was bummed I couldn't take my own camera but you know it was good I didn't because they got amazing pictures of the kids and I during the whole tour. I am so happy we were able to do this tour!!!
All in all it was a good trip but I wish the embarkation would have been as easy and painless as the debarkation!!! Oh and I really wish Carnival would not have the next cruisers at the port trying to get on the ship as we were trying to get off. It was annoying to have to roll luggage between people trying to get into the VIP line as we were getting off.
I'm glad we went but I am still very disappointed in the way the whole loss of a day/port/embarkation was handled.